Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

Now here's an interesting take on the question whether a divorced woman should be allowed to keep her ex-husband's last name. It's not her name but his name! He only lent it out for the duration of the marriage!

Set this against the background of the still-dominant tradition that women should relinquish their last names at marriage and you come to a very odd conclusion where a woman's last name is something that should change back and forth, depending on what man defines her family membership. When a marriage ends she goes back to her father's name. When she re-marries she takes the name of the new husband. Should she get divorced again, back to the father's name! A yo-yo name!

Come to think of it, the conclusion isn't at all odd, given what happens in reality. But it's nice to see all that about the name being "his" spelled out. Because now a woman considering "taking his name" at marriage might realize that at least one man thinks the name is only out on loan.